Josh Hamilton and the Angels are limiting the role of his “accountability coach”

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Josh Hamilton has long had an “accountability coach” or “accountability partner” accompany him at all times when at the ballpark and on road trips. The idea is to have someone to keep an eye on him and help him deal with the temptations and difficulties which come with being a drug and alcohol addict.  The OC Weekly reports, however, that the role of this person is being limited:

The franchise released a statement that says Hamilton has, in his own words, “downsized the role” of his accountability partner, having him only accompany the slugger on road games and not dress for games in a uniform like an additional coach. Among the partner’s duties is handling the 32-year-old’s meal money.

“It’s time to cut the cord a little bit,” Hamilton says in the Halos’ release. “I don’t really use it for home games. I go to the park, I do what I need to do, I know what I need to do, and I have my family. That was one of the main reasons.”

He’ll still have someone on the road, but not at home, where he’ll rely in his wife more.

Whatever works best for him. All that matters is that he stay clean.

Noah Syndergaard: ‘I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency’

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Yankees starter Luis Severino and Phillies starter Aaron Nola both signed contract extensions within the last week. Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with a 2023 club option. Nola inked a four-year, $45 million deal with a 2023 club option.

While the deals both represented significant raises and longer-term financial security for the right-handed duo, some feel like the players are selling themselves short. It has become a more common practice for players to agree to these types of deals in part due to how stagnant free agency has become. Get the money while you can.

Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is in a similar situation as Severino and Nola were. He and the Mets avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $6 million salary for the 2019 season. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility left. A contract extension with the Mets would presumably cover both of those years plus two or three years of what would be free agent years. As Tim Britton of The Athletic reports, however, Syndergaard plans to test free agency when the time comes.

Syndergaard said, “I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did. But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.” He clarified that he would be open to a conversation about an extension, but the Mets thus far haven’t approached him about it. In his words, “There’s been no traction.”

Syndergaard, 26, has been one of baseball’s better starters since debuting in 2015. He owns a career 2.93 ERA with 573 strikeouts and 116 walks in 518 1/3 innings. Among pitchers to have logged at least 400 innings since 2015 and post a lower ERA are Clayton Kershaw (2.22), Jacob deGrom (2.66) and Max Scherzer (2.71). Syndergaard made only seven starts in 2017 yet still ranks seventh among pitchers in total strikeouts since 2015.

If Sydergaard doesn’t end up signing an extension, he will be entering free agency after the 2021 season. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021 and a new one will likely be agreed upon around that time. Syndergaard will hopefully have better prospects entering free agency then than players do now.